22 Oct 2013

Hopes for trade deal with South Korea

2:55 pm on 22 October 2013

The South Korean Government will resume stalled trade talks with New Zealand and two other countries.

Trade Minister Tim Groser says it's an important step and he's cautiously optimistic a deal can be reached.

Tim Groser.

Tim Groser. Photo: NATIONAL PARTY

Mr Groser however won't commit to how long it might take to reach an agreement given South Korea's powerful agricultural sector.

"If the Koreans want to show some additional flexibility, I think we can bring this agreement to a conclusion sucessfully."

Talks with South Korea began in 2009, but broke down over how far Korea would go to open its agricultural market.

Prime Minister John Key visited South Korea in late July, and he was confident negotiations would resume and a deal could be completed within a year.

His confidence appears well-placed, with the Seoul government saying it has restarted stalled trade talks with New Zealand, as well as Australia and Canada.

New Zealand is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership, or TPP, talks which is aiming to get a deal done by the end of December.

South Korea is not part of TPP, but currently has bilateral trade agreements with seven of its 12 participants.